Five minutes with Tom Valentine – the man, the MD

Tom Valentine, Managing Director of Secret Escapes

Tom, tell us something surprising about yourself.

Slightly hotel themed, I was very nearly called Clint after my pregnant mother was knocked over by Eastwood rapidly exiting Claridges. Apparently he was a perfect gentleman and said he “hoped the little guy was alright”.

Your wedding dance was really something special. Any other hidden talents?

I do a passable Enrique Iglesias impersonation. Also, I’m really good at Excel.

If you weren’t running the ship at Secret Escapes, what would you be doing?

Depending on my mood, either doing something equally exciting and stressful in a different e-commerce market, or working in a video shop. I think it would be nice to work in a video shop.

What’s your most memorable holiday experience?

Honeymoon at Cocoa Island in the Maldives, it’s as ridiculously brilliant as advertised.

And your most disastrous?

During my adventurous phase after university, I once woke up in an ashram in India at four in the morning, I took an unintentionally cold shower and was then savaged by ants that had taken up residence in my towel overnight. Not a good journey of discovery.

If you were to open a boutique hotel, what would it be like?

I’m afraid it would end up quite Fawlty Towers, I’m pretty disorganised with that kind of thing. If I had a sensible business partner keeping me in check, then it would be by the sea, have a well-stocked library of paperbacks for rainy days and it would serve the best breakfast in the region. Also, it wouldn’t have a pile of oranges on a plate in the room, I find those weird.

What do you love most about working at Secret Escapes?

Firstly, for a relatively small gang of people, we get a massive amount of stuff done. I think a lot of businesses fall into the trap valuing analysis and ideas for their own sake, and we’ve managed to build a culture that really rates getting the right projects done quickly. Secondly, and in no way unrelated, we’ve become a significant force in UK travel incredibly quickly. I think everyone is pretty proud of that.

What’s your ideal holiday destination?

I love the Mill House Inn in East Hampton, which is not unlike my fantasy hotel above. My next big trip will be to South America, I’ve heard good reports and need to find out for myself.

Your dream travel buddy (dead or alive)?

My wife, but she can get very busy, if she’s not around then Frodo would be awesome.

Any last words or final thoughts you want to leave us with?

It’s very nice of everyone to visit Secret Escapes, and especially to read the blog, do let us know what you’d like to see more of!

One Comment

  1. Paula Weston says:


    I’m interested in a holiday to Thailand next July , probably Bangkok 2 nights , Chang mai 3 nights and an island, maybe Koh Samui for 10 nights for 2 adults and 2 kids (17 & 13).

    Do you do holidays that far in advance?

    Many thanks


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